Well not really, she’s a kitten. I don’t think of cats (pets) as “family members” in that way, however, it has won over a piece of my heart with its fuzzy-wuzzy-ness. Though I need to put it on the record, kittens (cats) and I have had a formal agreement to keep to our own spaces and commit to not wandering inadvertently into each others paths. That is being tested.
It all started with Akasha, my cousins Persian cat, and continued with my one of post-college roommates’ kitten. He had gotten married and had some visa issues for his Canadian spouse, but while we were still living together waiting to get that visa thing resolved and he was preparing to start his life with his wife, he got a kitten. That kitten peed all over my stuff, it marked up my shoes, and deflated some air furniture I was overly attached too. It was not the kittens fault, it wasn’t my room mates fault. I thought the kitten was cute, but I also decided in that brief period of time we were together that kittens, cats, were just not my thing. The smell of their litter, the idea of cleaning up their poop, the whole ordeal of having a living thing with its own unique set of personality and character traits living with me…. So maybe my attitude towards it affected how it behaved towards me? Cats have that sense, right?
Oh crap, yes, I realized what you realized right now. I realized that if I had such a hard time compromising my lifestyle to accommodate a cat, how in the world would/could I accommodate my life to a significant other (and children)? And cats, they don’t require a fraction as much accommodation as a human relationships would require!
Meet Khaleesi Moochi aka My Existential Crisis Incarnated
Could it be that pets are in a way an indicator of whether or not I am ready for marriage? I hope not. Because I see pets as a preference of sorts. I also think marriage, and childrearing, is completely different then having pets. Lots of people today would have you believe that their pets are their children, and thats a luxury we have in the United States because of our affluence. But go to any developing country, people there will think you are one of the crazies.
I won’t pass judgement on people though. You like to treat your pets like human children go right ahead, there is a huge market that is waiting for your hard earned dollars, and well its capitalism. But I do have to say this recent realization I had with the presence of Khaleesi Moochi, aka Furry Baby, my sisters kitten, threw me for spin. I am not certain what to make of it.
Khaleesi is only two months old. She is a very cute little fur ball. I like to feel her paws on my hands, the padding and her light footedness amaze me. She also runs into my room to hide under the bed when she’s interacting with Middle Shaikh. Khaleesi is peculiar in her habits, but in that way all cats have unique personalities that are apparent, but none the less her peculiarities have fascinated me.
I found myself not to fond of her jumping around on the sofas, or the smell of her litter box, or hearing her meowing at night, and slowly I began to realize that all the reservations I had for getting a kitten were deeply rooted in my earlier experiences from ten years ago.
The Trinity of a Relationship, With Furry Baby?
Compromise, accommodation, and mutual respect are the things that come up as being important in any relationship. There are other important things as well, like you have to have some mutual hinge factor; like you need to keep some mystery in the game; like you need to change things up. But the important things are compromise, accommodation and mutual respect.
If I can’t compromise over the kitten, accommodate the kitten in my life, and respect that the kitten is an animal with built in behaviors and instincts like mine, how can I have a successful life with someone else? Khaleesi is my sisters kitten, however, she’s part of the environment we share at home. Therefore the ideas of compromise, accommodation, and mutual respect come into play first with my sister and then with Khaleesi.
Its crazy that a kitten would lead to an existential crisis, its no fault of Khaleesi, but if anything she might have led me to a very deep point of self evaluation because I was already raw from my experiences over the summer (here and here).
Its a funny thing too because I was out of the country on my Central America adventure (link coming soon) when my sister brought Khaleesi home. When I got back we left for Zion National Park, and I was dealing with a lot of processing from Central America, from my time at Union Theological Seminary, and my own life concerns. So I am in a vulnerable place and am not surprised at all that my interaction with a the fur ball would lead me to be asking this big question about relationships, evaluating my own readiness (desire) for commitment, and investment in wanting to be in one.